I recently started the evening walk ritual with a friend just to stay fit and ok yes,also for the daily dose of gossip we both share.
We chose to walk the 'the walking plaza', a term every army-wife would understand. For the rest, let me explain-it is a stretch of road inside a cantonment, lined by picturesque trees which is closed to traffic for specific hours in the morning and evening for walking. Oh and yes,every lamp post has a speaker mounted on it and music plays during 'walking hours'. Sounds amazing,right?
The initial few days were spent trying to just complete the circuit,either one not willing to surrender. We both accomplished the feat but were left out of breath and with cramps in the calves of our legs. As the days passed, we became more comfortable and from novices turned pros. That is when I started noticing things and people around me.
That was when I realised:
- The music varies drastically from classical Hindi songs to Bryan Adams which makes me wonder who chooses the playlist. Maybe it is a different person every day 'coz if it is not, he must be a serious case of bipolar disorder shifting from mania to depression between songs.
-We really need to give ourselves time to enjoy the beauties of nature. While walking, I actually see and hear birds, perched on trees. I remember doing that as a child but don't know what happened between then and now.
-I come across almost the same people every day and can now even classify and categorise them.
1. The 'old is gold' gang of five saree-clad women in their sixties who walk at a snail's pace but talk at supersonic ones. I have never been able to make out the chatter but they look happy.
2. The 'I know better' guy. I see him everyday with one of his two friends and he is always saying 'See,this is how you walk' and zips past swaying his arms while his friends try and match up.
3. The mother-daughter duo who clearly are fond of eating,given their dimensions. The mother is constantly giving her huffing and puffing daughter the look as if saying,'You need to lose weight. No one is going to marry you like this'.
4. The '6-packs in the making' guys who jog away to glory and usually complete two rounds before we reach half-way. You must need a lot of motivation to do that which I clearly lack and moreover,how can you chatter while running? Too tiring!
5. The 'zero figure' wonder who is probably an army daughter and the next Ms.India in the making. I pretend not to notice her. I actually believe in the saying that one should not look up and be jealous but should look down and be grateful. So I rethink point no.3
6. The 'dreamy eyed couple' holding hands and sharing smiles in between. I wonder why they are out for a walk? Get a room guys!
7. The moustached ex-army officer...how do I know? Add the moustache and a wooden stick with brass embellishments to a lean aged body with a stylish cap and it can't be anyone else.
8. The 'happily-ever-after couple' in their middle age who seem very punctual in their walk and almost walk in sync. The lady is always talking...I have actually never heard the husband speak. He just nods or smiles...probably the reason of their happiness!
9. This is a sinister one. This guy's face has an uncanny familiarity about it and I am unable to place him. He nods his head in acknowedgement whenever I see him and I,well..sort of nod too though I have no freaking idea who he is. Need to find out and soon!
10. Then there are the random ones. You see them one day and the next,they are gone only to resurface after a week or so. Maybe they don't stick to a particular time or are still in the initial phase of trying to motivate themselves to be regular.
-All of them seem like extended family to me now. The day I don't come across any of them,the walk feels incomplete and I keep thinking if all is well with them.
Sometimes I even wonder whether they notice me and if they do, which category do I fall in?